By Daniel Adaji
Alhaji Bukar Gambo, popularly known as Mandama, was the Chairman of the Civilian Joint Task Force, (CJTF) who was killed alongside four other members by Boko Haram terrorists, suspected to be members of Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP) on July 17, 2022.
He was killed when a convoy of military troops and CJTF was ambushed by terrorists in Gubio Local Government Area of Borno State.
The CJTF is a vigilante group created to support Nigerian troops in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.
Mandama came to the limelight in Gubio LGA after his biological elder brother, Bulama Bukar, also known as Maradona, who was initially chairman of CJTF in Gubio, was killed by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists in 2019. Alhaji Mandama was later appointed to step into the shoes of his late brother, to continue the battle from where Bulama ended his.
Terrorists are in constant design to take over Gubio because it is located between Baga, a prominent fish market, and Monguno, a very big town in the north of Borno State.
Gubio Local Government Area has continued to suffer from notorious attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic States of West African Province (ISWAP).; it’s an economic hub, and strategic for fish and livestock business. Terrorists are in constant design to take over the Gubio because it located between Baga, a prominent fish market, and Monguno, a very big town in the north of Borno State. Baga was one of the towns that fell under the infamous and short-lived Boko Haram caliphate in 2015.
Mandama became famous for his gallantry. As a leader of the CJTF in Borno State for over a decade, he played a very significant role in the liberation of several communities in Gubio Local Government Area, which was a stronghold of Boko Haram for years. Through his support for the military, peace and security have been restored in the area, until the recent ambush that led to Mandama’s death.
Mandama became famous for his gallantry. Through his support for the military, peace and security have been restored in the area, until the recent ambush that led to Mandama’s death.
Though he was a young man, Mandama was highly talented, selfless, friendly, and most importantly a charismatic team leader, who carried every member of his team along. He was hard working, in the fight against violent extremism. Through his intelligence network, several terrorist hideouts were discovered and dismantled. Many terrorists were arrested or neutralized, and this gave the people of Gubio a measure of relief from the destructive and deadly activities of Boko Haram in the area.
With surveillance mechanisms and spy agents in the area, he has tracked down terrorists in local markets, villages, and even nabbed informants who worked for Boko Haram. On several occasions his network of intelligence made it possible for the military to foil attempts by terrorists to attack villages, government assets, and military formations.
He played roles that unsettled Boko Haram and ISWAP in the territory.
Many times, when he coordinated attacks on terrorist strongholds, his team recorded successes and returned to their base with minimal casualties. It is for this reason that his death may be celebrated by terrorists.
However, on several occasions the military had warned him against carrying out lone operations, or moving in rural areas on counter-insurgency operations without security cover. In March 2022, when ISWAP invaded Gubio Local Government Headquarters and kidnapped the Principal Medical Officer (PMO), Dr Geidam Bulama, who is the only medical doctor serving in the whole Council, the late Mandama organized an operation to trail the terrorists. His team rescued some of the victims. However, to date, Dr Bulama is still in ISWAP’s captivity.
In the operation which led to his death, Mandama led a surveillance team after he received intelligence from Gubio that ISWAP had reached an advanced stage in a plot to launch an attack. Unfortunately, while on their way back to Gubio town that Monday morning, the terrorists laid an ambush for them and opened fire on the convoy.
In the operation which led to his death, Mandama led a surveillance team after he received intelligence from Gubio that ISWAP had reached an advanced stage in a plot to launch an attack. His team provided the military authorities with the information, which made the army to mobilize troops to Gubio, with support from men of the CJTF, to enhance security. Unfortunately, while on their way back to Gubio town that Monday morning, the terrorists laid an ambush for them and opened fire on the convoy. Mandama’s vehicle was in the front among the convoy. The terrorists killed him and four of his team members.
No doubt, the late Mandama had been on the radar of the Boko Haram terrorists for unsettling their heinous acts. A senior CJTF member who didn’t want to be named said that Mandama was a hero; he was a proactive leader, whose death had thrown the Gubio branch of CJTF in a dilemma for a suitable replacement.
Mandama fiercely fought the terrorists without fear. To find someone with his attributes, especially with a strong will to lead the battle against these terrorists in Gubio, might be difficult.
A resident of Gubio, Ibrahim Mustapha Gubio, said, “My concern now is, how members of the brave CJTF fighter family would feel. The family lost Bulama Bukar to Boko Haram about three years ago, and woke up again to realized that Alhaji Bukar Gambo Mandama, too, had paid the supreme price? My thoughts and prayers are with this brave family, the widow of the deceased and her orphan.”
The exit of the late Mandama and his dead team members are a big loss in the fight against terrorists in Borno State. It has created a vacuum, not only for Gubio LGA, but also in the state at large. This is a tragedy for Borno State; that young and promising men, who are determined and have a very bright future, are being mowed down by terrorists.
Alhaji Bukar Mandama will remembered as a hero in Gubio. He sacrificed his life to protect his community against terrorists. He worked hard to ensure his hometown was safe. He was equally instrumental to the efforts of government to restore peace and order, not only in Gubio, but Borno State in general.